Could your company be liable for what employees do after work hours?

You know what they say—it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.

 

When that magic hour comes, does it really matter what employees do? Are their off-hours important?

 

Well, yes and no. Once employees are off the clock, their time is their own. But here’s what employers need to know.

 

Keeping It Safe

Companies don’t generally care about off-hours alcohol use. But when a weekend celebration carries over into the workday? That could make the workplace unsafe.

 

Establishing company policy on drug and alcohol use can help. But keep in mind the ADA prevents employers from discriminating against an employee because of alcoholism. Ask yourself this: can that employee meet the same performance and production standards required from other workers?

 

Keeping It Clean

If employees are using illegal drugs after-hours, does their drug use carry over into their work life? That’s where safety and liability could be a factor. Disability rights laws don’t limit options in this area.

 

Some companies opt for zero tolerance. Others look at drug use on a case-by-case basis. Is it a first offense? How did their drug use impact the safety of others?

 

Want to test? Laws involving drug testing are rapidly changing. Be sure your company policy keeps up with those changes. Offer testing that’s both professional and respectful.

 

But what if it’s a legal drug that impairs an employee? That’s completely different. Know your state and federal disability law. Depending on how the employee is impacted,  you may need to accommodate use.

 

Keeping It Legal

What if an employee ends up in legal trouble? Plenty of employers opt for ongoing screening to stay updated on what’s happening after-hours. It’s better to know sooner than later if a DUI or other disqualifying criminal conviction happens. With technology, employers now have the option of instant updates.

 

Be prepared for anything with a professional partner like ClearStar. Contact us today.

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